Saltshaker A Trinity Methodist Church Publication
JUNE 2016 MCI (P) 065/10/2015
EVOLVING THE 11.15 AM SERVICE PG 16
THE MAGIC MONEY BAG PG 18 THE THIRD DECADE PG 24
CHANCE ENCOUNTERS blessinG stranGers Rev Alvin Chan Pastor-in-Charge
THE 60-MINUTE BLESSING A FEW STEPS CLOSER TO C HRIST JESUS
It was a random meeting in a car park. I was just leaving my parked car along Race Course Road when he approached me showing me two cards – a SIM card and an auto pass. A voice in my head said immediately: “Uh-oh. Scammer approaching.” Despite my rudimentary Malay, I understood that his motorbike had been confiscated by customs officials, and that he needed money to pay the summons to get his bike back. He spoke only Malay, which I thought was a good excuse for me to extricate myself from the situation. Nevertheless, something told me to stay to listen to him. I am a pastor after all! Then came crunch time. He needed $80. That was not a small sum. While he had been talking, I was thinking that I would give him $10 and send him on his way. But $10 was not going to help him out of his predicament. Then the most amazing thing happened. I took out my wallet and there was exactly $80 in it. Not a cent more, not a cent less. It made my decision so much easier. I gave him the $80 I had. Soon after the car park incident, I was accosted by a lady at Ang Mo Kio Central while I was with my son looking for some dinner.
In my mind I said: “Aiyah! Another one! Better think of an excuse and leave.” And yet again, I stopped to listen to her. She was sick with diabetes, jobless, and had an aged mother and younger siblings. She asked for money for dinner for her family. I gave her $10. During our conversation, she kept repeating her name to me even though I had not asked her for her name. It was a random repetition of her name, not even part of the one-sided conversation we were having. In BLESSing this man and woman, both of whom I am unlikely to ever meet again, I learnt a few precious lessons in discipleship: Loving someone else becomes easier after you have listened to them. When we ask God to give us an opportunity to bless others, we should respond wholeheartedly when the opportunity arises. Giving $80 away may seem difficult in the heat of the moment, but looking back, I am none the poorer. Everyone has a name. We are all precious to Him.
The 60-Minute Blessing (I n a nut she l l )
As part of our endeavour towards being a disciple-making church, the TMC60 Committee encourages all TMC disciples to do "The 60-Minute BLESSing". Yes, it can take as little as 60 minutes just to BLESS someone. How does it work? BLESS one person for 60 minutes (spread over a few occasions), or a few people for a total of 60 minutes - there is no need to be legalistic about this.
Share your BLESSing experience with someone in the Witness & Evangelism team - encourages others to BLESS! Obtain your 60 th Anniversary 'BLESS' Polo Shirt - we hope to have as many people as possible wear this on Sun, 11 Sep at the 60 th Anniversary service. Don't know how to start? Help can be found in the guide at www.tmc.or g.sg/tmc60.html Enquiries to: Ms Chew Kim Ling Mrs Claire Lowe
email@example.com firstname.lastname@example.org 3
love one another the 60-minute blessinG
Emily and William (third from left) with fellow Outreach & Social Concerns volunteers.
I joined TMC in 1980 when I married my husband, William. We participated in the Methodist Adult Fellowship (MAF) and served as ushers. William also served in the Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) and led our small group. Sometime in 1984, we had a ‘tsunami’-like experience. Our eldest son, Matthew, aged threeand-a-half, was stricken with leukaemia. He underwent two rounds of chemotherapy which wrecked his little body and our hearts with much pain. He returned to the Lord a year later. 4
We were devastated. Our faith was shaken but not knocked down. In spite of our confusion, depression and pain, we clung to our faith and the promptings of the Holy Spirit, claiming His Word, like the 23rd Psalm and bible verses like “Cast all your cares upon Him, for He cares for you" (1 Pet 5:7) and “God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Jesus Christ (Phil 4:19), just to name a few. Our Lord God surrounded us with Christians who were caring and encouraging, gradually drawing us out of darkness. We experienced the peace of God. It is extraordinary! The peace Jesus Christ gives us can co-exist in the midst of pressure and turmoil.
And we can say: “It is well with our souls”. It is not a feel-good emotion but calmness and confidence in the Lord amidst the storm. We felt a revival within us and were convicted to serve.
PCM’s goal is that no member should feel alone or unloved. Our mission is to support, encourage and equip worshippers at TMC to provide love, care and concern to one another as commanded.
A year later, in 1986, at a church camp, Rev Melvin Huang invited us to join the Outreach & Social Concerns Committee (OSC). The task appeared daunting. But we agreed, notwithstanding our demanding careers, a baby in arms and a toddler, aged four. We were reminded that we should not lean on our own understanding but to trust God.
I have been blessed serving in PCM as I have witnessed immediate pre-believing family members being saved by the grace of God, sometimes in the hour of their passing; Christians whose bodies were wrecked in pain with cancer singing Amazing Grace or Jesus Loves Me with expressions of joy and peace which our Lord promised; and members who appreciate our support at wakes especially when their family members are pre-believers.
He met our needs a hundredfold – we had a team of committed TMC members serving in OSC. The ministry involved conducting fortnightly services at the Institute of Mental Health, vesper once a week at Chen Su Lan Methodist Children’s Home and sponsoring four needy families who were pre-believers. We experienced the awesome power of God, enabling us to evangelise through love and concern, encouraging and uplifting the homebound, hopeless, sick and needy. We were truly blessed, acknowledging always that we were merely “worksin-progress”. Indeed, He is the potter and we are the clay. We continued to serve in similar ministries when we emigrated to the USA. Two years ago, Rev Peter Goh invited me to join the Pastoral CareNet Ministry (PCM). It was an answered prayer as I had retired again, was spending more time in Singapore and had prayed for God’s direction. PCM’s vision is for every TMC member to be a caring disciple of Christ” because Jesus said, “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples if you have love for one another” (Jn 13:3435).
Currently, PCM, in collaboration with the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS), has volunteers serving and visiting TMC’s sick, lonely, homebound and their caregivers. Those who wish to get involved yet need to be at home can consider serving in the areas of prayer, telephone, email and encouragement through cards. Ad-hoc involvement would include hospital visits and attending wakes. Our Connection Café provides hospitality and follow-up activities to visitors after service. Our desire is to adopt a holistic approach. All information provided is strictly confidential. If you are thinking that you are not equipped to the work of PCM, you may be right. During our period of grief, we encountered many well-meaning Christians who proved to be Job’s comforters, causing much hurt and confusion. PCM plans to hold a workshop in August this year – ‘Caring God’s Way’. This workshop in August will teach you to love, encourage and enlighten a troubled person to focus on God. I know we serve a Risen Saviour, Jesus Christ and He reigns in our hearts. Emily first gave this testimony over the pulpit on Sunday 24 Apr 16.
altering thoughts the 60-minute blessinG
blessinG people We oFten meet
I was at a market in Cambodia running some I told her that I am a Christian and shared with errands, which included alterations to a table runner her what I believe about where our spirits go to I had bought. when we die. I also told her about how I observe Ching Ming, and how for the last Ching Ming I thought to myself: “Great. I have half-an-hour. festival, I travelled from Singapore to Malaysia with While she is sewing, I can run another errand and my parents to visit my grandparents’ grave. still have time to do a bit of shopping.” Then and there, as I was instructing the seamstress as to what This surprised her. to do with the table runners, I was reminded of the 60-Minute BLESSing. “Christians can do that too?” she asked. I explained that, as a Christian, it is important for us So, instead of going shopping, I decided to sit at to honour our parents, grandparents and remember her stall, and chat with her. the life of our beloved deceased. I explained that we don’t pray to our dead for blessing and protection Our conversation began with the usual small because we have all that in our God, Christ Jesus. talk - the weather, our children, how time has flown by, yet another Khmer New Year round the corner. To many Cambodians, Christianity is perceived as Then, our conversation settled on the topic of a foreign religion – a religion of the “white-skinned”. festivals. Becoming a Christian means abandoning many traditional customs which important to them. I asked her what festivals were most important to her and her family. She said Puchumben and In sharing what I did, I was hoping to help her see Ching Ming, which are festivals associated with that it is possible to be a Christian and yet, culturally remembering and honouring the dead. Cambodian. I asked her about how she observed these festivals and what she believed about spirits and life after death. While she was speaking, I was reminded of the “L” page in the BLESS booklet. “L” is for “Listen”. I was reminded not to be quick to interject and correct all her “errant theology”, but to listen and understand what was important to her - to practise 80 per cent listening and 20 per cent talking. Then she asked me: “What about you?” 6
In my 30 minutes or so with her, I think that I have brought her one little step closer to Christ. Prayerfully, some of her misconceptions about the Christian faith have been clarified. I look forward to my next meeting with her. I shall need to find more things for alteration. Prayerfully, in my next BLESS encounter with her, I may usher her yet another little step closer to Christ. Claire is a Lay Executive Staff in TMC. She first gave this testimony over the pulpit on Sunday 20 Mar.
the 60-minute blessinG
NO STRANGER TO THE PARTY Andy Chew
blessinG people We oFten meet
Uncle Tan is single and lives alone. I have known him for many years. My parents would chat with him at the void deck during our evening strolls. I bumped into him at the bus stop on Lunar New Year Eve this year. It was all unplanned. I had walked past him and he did not notice me as his back was facing me. But I sensed a prompting and it was quite a clear one. That nudge was to invite him to join my family at our reunion dinner. I hesitated at first. Some questions came to mind immediately. Would my family mind having someone who was not a relative at our reunion dinner? What if Uncle Tan already had other plans? Would Uncle Tan feel awkward? Despite these uncertainties, I took a deep breath, turned back, and walked towards Uncle Tan, with the thought of why I was putting myself through this ordeal. After chatting with him for a while, by faith, I issued my invitation for Uncle Tan to join my family for reunion dinner. He had his own moment of hesitation but agreed in the end. That was the first hurdle.
Next, I had to tell my family that I had invited a non-relative to our reunion dinner. I had not consulted them so I feared that they would be unsupportive. I called my brother to tell him what I had done. His first question was: “Why?” I simply replied that Uncle Tan had no one to enjoy reunion dinner with. My brother agreed that he could join us. I then told my mum and she was quick to agree immediately since Uncle Tan was no stranger to her. I prayed before the reunion dinner commenced that everything would proceed smoothly, that no one would feel awkward, but that we would enjoy one another’s company. I conducted Lo-Hei the Christian Way (see Saltshaker Feb 16 issue). Everyone found it interesting even though my brother, sister-in- law, nephew and Uncle Tan are pre-believers. They did not know that lo-hei could be done in that form but they received it well since the words used were blessings on every area of their lives.
such a dear, and really brought smiles to everybody's faces. We reminisced about my late father and what he was like when he was alive. We also talked about Uncle Tan's retirement experience - he misses his working days as they brought more meaning to his life. We had a great time. The awkwardness which I had anticipated was non-existent. It was both a happy and sad experience for me. A happy one because we enjoyed one another’s company. A sad one because it reminded me that there are many lonely people out there who need our love but yet oftentimes, we pass them by as if they were invisible. Christians - like you and I need to open the doors of our hearts and homes to touch others with the love of God manifested through us. What if our dining table is always set for that unexpected someone we might invite home to have a meal with us?
My nephew, Jaelen, who is three years of age, also lightened the occasion when he kept inviting Uncle Tan to eat. He is 7
T h e 60 -M i n u t e B l e s s i n g
BLESSing Our Family
BLESSING my grandfather Nicholas Chong
My paternal grandfather is a staunch Taoist and has never been to church. I have prayed for him that he would be more receptive to Christianity and God’s Word. We have dinner almost every Sunday night which I feel is very important for family bonding. I listen to his life stories and heed his advice when he urges me to. I also help him with household chores at his place. I share with him every Sunday how my week went and confide in him if I have problems. In February this year, I tried to introduce him to Christianity by translating some of the bible stories into Chinese. He didn’t object to me teaching him from God's Word. He was more open than I thought. Nicholas and his grandfather
IT'S THE LITTLE THINGS 生活中的“小事” Jessie Lee 李淑美
My mother has been very hostile towards Christianity all these years. With the recent demise of my father, my husband and I decided to spend more quality time with her. We agreed we would visit her more regularly and take her on outings. Recently, we took her for a dim sum lunch. She enjoyed the meal very much. I even heard from my sister that my mother was very happy that day after having lunch with us. Sometimes, it’s the little things that matter most. Besides spending more time with my mother, we want to find an opportunity to share the gospel with her, particularly about the after-life. 8
T h e 60 -M i n u t e B l e s s i n g
BLESSing Our Family Our family continues to pray for God to open the door of her heart, and the hearts of our siblings. It is my family’s goal to be used as God’s tool to unite our extended family under His household. Having our 6-year-old daughter around will help to break the ice for good conversation to flow. See what I mean about “little things”? 这些年来，我的母亲一直对基督教持有排斥的态度。 随着我父亲的逝世，我们夫妇俩决定花更多时间与母亲相处。我们开始更频密地去探望她，并陪 同她外出。 最近，我们带她一起到港式餐厅享用午餐，与她共度了愉快的中午。我后来听姐姐说，母亲与我 们用餐后，一整天心情都十分畅快。 生活中，有时候，正是这一点一点的“小事”对我们存有最重大的意义。 除了花时间陪伴母亲之外，我们也不断找寻机会向母亲分享福音，特别是关于永生的信息。 我们一家仍持续不断地祷告，祈求 神开启母亲及兄弟姐妹的心门。 我们盼望能成为 神合用的器皿，借着祂的大爱，让我们全家（包括远亲）都能进入祂的国度 里。感谢 神，因着我们6岁的女儿，我们常常能为家庭聚会营造轻松、和谐的气氛，并开展一些有 意义的对话。这么看来，“小”确实是一大关键。
All the girls - my mom, daughter and me
T h e 60 -M i n ut e B le ss i n g
- BLESSing Our Friends -
Lim Joo Ming
Before Easter Sunday, there was a hot cross bun-making demonstration in the church plaza. Following that, I baked hot cross buns for my colleagues.
Joo Ming (second from right) with her colleagues.
They all enjoyed the bun. I emphasised to them that it is eaten on Good Friday, the day that Christians remember Jesus dying on the Cross for our sins.
I see my workplace as a place to share God's Word with my colleagues. However, I am mindful to be sensitive to their personal space and that the workplace is a public space. Nevertheless, in everything I do, I seek to glorify His name, and I trust Him to take care of the rest.
Lee Hui Ling
I am a teacher. My colleague, Nyet Kheng, and I have always had a good working relationship. As such, I was uncomfortable about sharing Christ with him. I didnâ€™t want the relationship to become strained. However, last November, he was asked to transfer to another school. I then felt an urgent need to share with him about our good Lord.
Hui Ling (second from left) and Nyet Kheng (far right).
I shared with him the Aaronic blessing in Numbers 6:24-26. My long-time worry was unfounded - He was positive about the blessing. Encouraged by this, I intend to invite Nyet Kheng and his wife to some suitable gospel events. I think it is important to pray for Godâ€™s peace and His direction before we do anything for the Lord. We need to set aside time to pray for pre-believers, listen to and encourage them. 10
T h e 60 -M i n ut e B le ss i n g - BLESSing Our Friends -
Consciousness I have known Y since the 1990s.
Hum Sin Hoon
He worked closely with me as my graduate support officer for several years.
When we were seated and waiting for the movie to start, I found that I could share the gospel message quite readily with Y. This ease of sharing continued after the movie.
We continued to be good friends even when I was no longer his supervisor. And I have consciously kept in touch with him over the years.
It was a good outing. Y was open, and asked many questions. He also shared about his family and their beliefs.
More recently, with The 60-Minute BLESSing drive as an impetus, I asked the Lord to point me to the person He wanted me to bless.
In the week that followed, it was easy for me to bless Y further through a meal, as a follow-up to our movie experience.
The Lord answered quite readily and pointed me to a few persons, including Y.
I know that my pre-believing friend is definitely one step closer to Christ through his willingness to ask questions and to share his life and family stories with me. I have entrusted him to our Lord in prayer, and will continue to follow the Lord’s leading.
It was clear to me that I could bless Y if I invited him to watch the special RISEN movie screening organised by Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) at Easter. As it turned out, a couple of Sundays before the movie screening, we sang “I wish you Jesus” as the benediction during our church service. The Lord impressed upon me quite strongly that I indeed wanted to wish Y Jesus more than anything else. With my wife’s support and prayers, I met Y at a school event. He was seated alone. The Lord had clearly opened the way for me to approach and invite him to the RISEN movie. I invited him to the movie and he agreed to go. Being kiasu, Y and I showed up early at the NEX cinema (I wanted to get good seats so that Y could experience the full impact of the movie). While waiting, I introduced him to a few of our church members, who were very supportive in making Y feel comfortable. I felt blessed that my fellow believers were all helping me to bless my prebelieving friend.
There are several pre-believers whom I am praying for and whom I can bless. My BLESS experience with Y reminded me consciously to seek the Lord to guide me to the particular person He wants me to bless. I also learned that the Lord is waiting for me to seek Him and to obey His leading. When I prayed specifically, He brought up the name of the specific pre-believer – Y - to my mind. As I mindfully kept a lookout for His leading, the Lord opened the way for me to meet and to invite this person to a gospel event readily. I myself have been blessed in this conscious experience, including knowing that my other Christian brothers and sisters are supporting me in prayers, and in witnessing their attempts to bless others as well.
T h e 60 -M i n ut e B le ss i n g - BLESSing Our Friends -
Praying with a Pre-Believer 与未信者一同祈祷 Pei Leng and I have known each other since 1991, during our school days in Shatec. In 2004, we started our current business. We have been working together for the past 12 years. It was only in recent years that I began to BLESS her intentionally as our business has undergone many challenges especially in the last two years. We provide each other a listening ear over the telephone or over meals, trying to solve the difficulties that we face. I have been praying for her as she often needs to make major decisions for the company. Pei Leng is a staunch Buddhist. Yet, she is quite open to hearing about the Christian faith. In times when we need to make major decisions, I share with Pei Leng what the Bible teaches us. In April this year, Pei Leng told me that she had come across a radio station on FM107 which plays Christian songs, and that she had been listening to this station when driving. I wasn’t aware of this radio station. She told me that she liked to listen to the Christian songs as she felt some sort of peace within. I knew immediately that this was a good
Carol Lie 李美琴
opportunity to share more about my faith with her, and the reason why her mind experienced peace after listening to those songs. Two weeks later, she approached me to pray for her as she needed to renew our company’s lease. She was hoping to reduce the rental from $3,200 to $2,600. After praying for her, I was touched by the Holy Spirit so much so that I confidently told her that we could get the renewal at $2,500 instead of just $2,600. What then transpired was that the agent told us that the landlord was willing to renew the lease for $2,500 instead of $2,600 - not more or less. God had heard our prayers and showed us His mercy. Hallelujah! Pei Leng was amazed at how much faith I had in our Lord, and that my short prayer could lead to such an outcome. I myself felt that it was a wonderful experience and example of how the Lord can choose to answer our prayers. I pray that this episode will lead Pei Leng to understand and know the love that God has for her. I pray for God to continue using me as a vessel to bless Pei Leng and our company. 1991年，我和配菱因在新加坡酒店管理学院 （SHATEC）求学而结识。 2004年，我们共同开创了现在的生意。12年 来，我们肩并肩一起奋斗。 然而，一直到近两年，由于生意上 遇到一些挑战，我才开始有意识地与 她分享福音。
基于我们面对的挑战，我们常常一 起分享彼此的忧虑。每当她需要为公 Photo: gettyimages
司做出重大决定时，我也会在一旁为她祷告。 配菱是个虔诚的佛教徒，可她愿意敞开心扉来了解基督教信仰。当我们需要做出一些巨大的抉 择时，我会与配菱分享一些圣经中的原则与真理。 今年四月，配菱告诉我，她无意间在车内的收音机里接收到调频107频道，她从此经常在驾驶时 聆听一些基督教歌曲。我当时并不知晓这个电台。她说，她在聆听这些歌曲时，心中感受到一种欣 喜的平安。 我立刻明白这是与她分享信仰的绝好时机。于是，我进一步跟她说明为什么她在聆听这些歌曲 时，心中会得享平安。 两个星期后，她主动来找我，希望我能为公司租约的延续祈祷。她也表示希望租金能够从$3200 降至$2600。在祷告后，我心中深深被圣灵感动，于是，我很有信心地告诉她，我们将能够以$2500 的租金续约。事后，中介通知我们业主愿意以$2500的租金和我们续约，数目竟与圣灵在我心中启示 的数额完全吻合！哈利路亚！神确实垂听了我们的祷告，并向我们大施慈爱。 配菱为着我满怀信心祷告的结果大为震惊，我自己也深觉这是神应允我们祷告的美好见证。我祈 望这件事能引领配菱认识到神对她的爱何等长阔高深。 我会继续祈祷，让神塑造我成为合祂使用的器皿，让我能祝福配菱以及我们的公司。
Witnessing Through Prayer
Although I have known Mrs Chew for about 10 years, I have gotten to know her a lot better only in the last one to two years. She is the mother of my daughter’s friend. We invited Mrs Chew for dinner at our place. Prior to that evening, my daughter, Pam, prayed regularly for Mrs Chew - for her salvation and for her to feel comfortable at our place. Throughout dinner, we listened to Mrs Chew’s very interesting life story. We were very happy to host her, and she seemed comfortable with us. What happened at dinner was unintentional. As Mrs Chew was in the process of getting a new domestic helper, we shared our experience of employing our helper. We recounted how we had prayed before and throughout the selection process for God to guide us in our decision-making. Hopefully, Mrs Chew witnessed the role that Jesus plays in our everyday life. On our part, we continue to pray for Mrs Chew’s salvation in Christ. Photo: gettyimages
IN AND ABOUT TMC Good Friday & Easter
Evolving Our 11.15am English Service
“Is the word of God relevant for all of my life’s situations and in helping me to respond tangibly to challenges at home and at work?”
the sermon will be posed to encourage worshippers to discuss relevant issues with one another and through that, get to know one another better.
“I desire deeper fellowship and to feel the warmth of community but am not sure how to go about it. It’s hard to make friends just by attending service if you don’t already know someone.”
• Service Hosts. We will have teams of Service Hosts who will be out and about connecting people with one another and ensuring that everyone who walks into the 11.15am service feels welcome each week.
“Sometimes, coming to church is a routine but I do want more. I desire to connect with God and to hear from Him.”
• Encouraging worshippers to fill in prayer and/ or praise cards. Worshippers can write their prayer requests and/or thanksgiving notes. Some of these will be shared during service so that, together as a body of Christ, we can give thanks and pray for one another. The cards which are not read will be passed on to the prayer ministry and all prayer requests submitted will be covered in prayer.
It was a desire to address comments similar to the above by worshippers at our 11.15am service that kick-started months of discussion. This involved seeking God on how we could evolve our service to facilitate deeper worship and community building. A focus group comprising some worshippers at the 11.15am service, the chairperson of the Worship & Music Committee Daryl Ong, lay leader Richard Seng and our pastor-in-charge, Rev Alvin Chan, was gathered to share their views, discern the heartbeat of God for our service, and develop ideas that would help us achieve the following four focus areas which God had placed on our hearts: • Prophetic: Hearing from God and responding to Him • Relevance: Applying revelations from God’s Word to our lives and the world • Community: Loving each other • Discipleship: Growing together in Christ-likeness
WHAT CHANGES? With the four focus areas in mind, we are injecting the following elements into the 11.15 service: • Incorporating an intentional time of fellowship during service. In addition to a time of greeting one another, a “question of the week” that is related to
• Creating a platform where visitors and regular worshippers can meet for fellowship and friendship. We have launched a hospitality section called “5 kuehs and 2 kopis” in the Emmanuel Hall where we will serve light food and coffee before the service. There is also the newly-created role of the Service Chair, who will partner the worship leader in welcoming worshippers, facilitating the community time and leading in prayer. We are excited about all that is taking place at the 11.15am service and invite you to come alongside us! To find out more or get involved, speak to Rev Alvin Chan or email adifferent1115service@ gmail.com These changes were discussed and approved by the Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC) in April 2016.
Frequently Asked Questions Q: Will these changes result in an entirely different sort of service from what I am used to? A: No. You will still recognise it as the service you have been attending all this while. The initiatives proposed are evolutionary rather than revolutionary. Many are based on what has been tried to a limited extent and observed to have worked for the 11.15am service (e.g. interactive or participative prayer, small groups including children ministering together as “ushers”, the need for people to catchup and connect before and after service.) Q: Isn’t it irreverent for food and drink to be consumed in the Emmanuel Hall? A: Reverence should primarily be about the attitude and the state of the heart. We worship and carry out other corporate spiritual meetings in various settings, including in our small groups, during church camps, etc., where food and drink are consumed. However, to limit the area that needs to be cleaned, a partitioned area at the back of the Emmanuel Hall will be designated for the consumption of food and drink. Furthermore, to prevent distractions, food and drink will only be available during the time set aside for “Community”. Food and drink should not be consumed beyond the designated area or at other times. Q: There is already a refreshments area/iSunday Counter in the Plaza. Why not use these existing areas? A: Many worshippers at the 11.15am service, especially those who drive or are driven, bypass level one (and therefore the Plaza) completely in getting to and from the service. It is therefore more conducive to have these areas on the same level and as close as possible to the Emmanuel Hall. Q: Why not provide for lunch after service instead of refreshments before the service? A: Light refreshments are more conducive to mingling and making dynamic connections. For those who are already hungry before the service, the refreshments may help keep hunger pangs at bay during the service.
Image from https://www.pexels.com 17
The Magic Money Bag Lim Sue Yien Chairperson, Finance Committee
In the fairy tale The Magic Porridge Pot, a poor hungry girl is given a magic pot. When told to “cook little pot, cook!” the pot would magically produce a full pot of sweet porridge. One day when the little girl is out, her mother uses the pot to cook herself some porridge, but forgets the magic words to stop the cooking. As a result, the pot goes on producing porridge. It overflows until the whole house and town are filled with porridge, so much so that the entire town is able to feed itself on porridge for many months thereafter. Now wouldn’t it be just great if we too had a magic money bag at TMC? Anytime we need money to pay the utilities bills, run youth camps, order materials for courses, repair the leaking roof, we could just call out “money, little bag, money!”
Background and image from https://www.freepik.com
And the money would magically appear! No need for lengthy appeals or fund-raising events. We could just concentrate on witnessing to prebelievers and making disciples, fulfilling the true mission of the church. It’s not as impossible as it sounds. We could have our own magic money bag if each worshipper at TMC gives generously and regularly as God’s people who are to be like Jesus. When we are considering how much to give, it is human perhaps to become slightly calculating. Would God be offended if I give 5.5% of my income instead of 10%? 18
God, if I give you that whole 10%, will you bless me twice more than if I gave you 5%? Steven J Cole in “Why You Should NOT Tithe” comments that restricting our gift to 10% of our income may lead to the notion that 10% is God’s money and 90% is your money. It is useful, once a year on Pledge Sunday, to remind ourselves that 100% of what we have belongs to God in the first place. He may well want you to give 80% to His work and live on 20%. Frankly, since we cannot outgive God, it is pointless to be calculating with Him. God has already given us His Son, the priceless gift of salvation. Our gift, big, small or none, can never repay His gift. Neither will our salvation be taken away from us if we do not give. However, if we give out of a cheerful heart (2 Cor 9:7), we are expressing our love and obedience to God’s grace, and allowing ourselves to be used to build the kingdom of God. If we view our giving as a response to God’s love, then giving will not be a burden, and we will not end up putting what we think is a good sum into the offering bag just because it’s convenient. Perhaps your finances are a little tight right now. A new baby is on the way. Your car is approaching its ten-year mark and a new one needs to be purchased with a hefty upfront payment. You say to yourself that you will begin regularly giving to God when things get better. But according to “A Christian Guide to Financial Stewardship” produced by the Board of Discipleship & Nurture of the Trinity Annual Conference (which I commend to your reading), experience has shown
that when a person finds it difficult to give $100 out of $1,000, it is far more difficult to part with $10,000 out of $100,000, even though you have $90,000 left. God has always provided for our church through her worshippers. He blessed us with church fathers who were financially responsible. They bought the piece of freehold land on which TMC sits. As a result, unlike some of our sister Methodist churches, we now do not have to spend millions to renew land leases. Our predecessors also built reserves. Through God’s blessing, we have always had something left over each year to add to these reserves. In other words, we have not merely managed to break even but also put money into the “savings pot”, such as the sinking fund (otherwise known as the Properties Development Fund) which funds structural maintenance and upgrades to the building. The church building is now ten years old. Those of you who own a home or car know that things start to break down as the magical ten-year mark approaches. We will soon be drawing down a sum of about $300,000 from our sinking fund to perform maintenance works on the building. As we do so, we hope to be able to replenish the sinking fund for future generations. We owe it to future generations of worshippers to leave them with a filled storehouse. What a burden we would be able to lift off their shoulders – as our forefathers did for us - if this storehouse were a money bag that overflows automatically as a result of faithful and regular giving. All our chosen spheres of outreach and mission fields would be able to feed itself off this money bag for generations to come. Before Pledge Sunday takes place on 3 Jul this year, please prayerfully consider your gift to God before you complete your pledge card. Parable of the Widow’s Offering (Lk 21:1-4), illustrated by Colette Yip, age 8. The right money bag shows two coins which is all the widow had, and which she gave. The left money bag shows a bag of coins of which only 3 coins were given, and the rest kept.
Pledge Sunday takes place on Sun 3 Jul 16. To help our church with its administration and the planning of its budget, all worshippers are encouraged to pledge their gifts to God on Pledge Sunday. You can choose to fulfil your pledge weekly, monthly or at some other interval. Please complete the pledge cards that will be sent by post to TMC members, but are otherwise available at the iSunday Counter.
SPIRITUAL DISCIPLINES - the discipline of submission
SCRIPTURE study Kwa Kiem Kiok
Submitting to someone I love and respect, like my husband, is easy. Submitting to someone whom I deem unworthy, such as one whom I think knows less than I do or has less experience in areas of my expertise, is hard. In those situations, my pride and self well up inside and seek to assert my own will and way.
More profoundly, my posture of submission made me depend and trust more in the Lord. If indeed I was right, surely he would vindicate me and he would bring things to pass. Just as he did with Saul and David: tragically, Saul fell into further disequilibrium and eventually took his own life (1 Sam 31).
Submission is necessary for two reasons. First it is the character of the Christ whom we follow. Jesus who, being in very nature and essence God, humbled himself and became human. He did not cling on to his special privileges; instead he emptied himself to become a slave and lived a selfless and obedient life and death (Phil 2:6-8). If Jesus submitted himself to the Father, who are we to think that we should get our own way all the time?
Submission is a discipline because we need to practise this daily in a variety of situations. At home, by letting others choose to eat their favourite food that day; at work or school to do the project the way of our team mates; and likewise in church. There are situations when submission is inappropriate. For example, parents should not “submit” to their young children. Sometimes, a difficult decision needs to be made which requires those with the authority to not submit but decide for the good of the whole.
Secondly, in Christian community, submission is necessary for the health of the community. Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ says Paul in Eph 5:21. After all, the head of the Christian community is not its earthly leader, be it the Bishop or Pastor-in-charge or the President, but Jesus Christ himself. Hence, submission to those who are above us is a recognition of Christ’s authority and headship over us all. This attitude is well illustrated by David in 1 Sam 26. David had already been anointed by the prophet Samuel to be the next King; Saul was both losing his sanity and jealous of David and sought to kill him. In this story, even though David had the opportunity to kill Saul, he refused to do so: “the Lord forbid that I should lay a hand on the Lord’s anointed” (1 Sam 26:11). David recognised Saul’s position and submitted to that, and thus to God. The key of submitting is giving up of ourselves – our desires, preferences and wants. We may prefer to do something in a certain way, have good reasons for that, and objectively may even be correct about it. But when we thus submit to one another in the team, we gain the “ability to lay down the terrible burden of always needing to get our own way…we are released to drop the matter, to forget it. Frankly, most things in life are not nearly as important as we think they are.” (Richard Foster, Celebration of Discipline, p.138). As I pondered these words, I discovered a joy – when I let others have their way then they are actually responsible for their own actions! That was liberating for me.
A discipline and posture of submission in life can be the steps we take to discover what is more important (“not my will…”), can affirm and build up others in the group, and give space for God to act and show his perfect and gracious ways (“…but yours be done”). In this way we follow the steps of Jesus Christ. Rev Paul Nga will have preached five sermons on spiritual disciplines by the end of this year. Sabbath-Sacrifice, Solitude- Simplicity, SojournersSubmission, Scripture-Study, and StewardshipService. Kiem, who is one TMC’s local preachers and a lecturer in Inter-Cultural Studies at the East Asia School of Theology, will be helping our readers in following that sermon series through this column. The following materials are also recommended so that you can follow the sermon series more actively. Spiritual Disciplines – The Tasks of a Joyful Life (8 studies), by Larry Sibley from Fisherman Bible Study Guides (Special offer $9.80) Spiritual Disciplines Companion – Bible Studies and Practices to Transform Your Soul (8 studies with 6 sections in each study), by Jan Johnson from InterVarsity Press ($34.00) More at www.tmc.org.sg/pulpit.html. Queries to Park Ming / email@example.com 21
Keep STILL , be quIeT
! n e T & LI S
This column is about the things that little people can teach us about our relationship with God.
Tric ia Ton g
F o r t he m o s t pa r t , V i c ky is a ha ppy c hild an d f u ll o f s miles. When Vicky is crying, however, it’s loud. It is especially startling when it comes through the baby monitor in the dead of the night. Vicky’s night cries do not crescendo from pianissimo* to forte*. They just start at fortissimo*. I often imagine that the neighbours are cursing in their beds when that happens. Thankfully, those cries in the wee hours are rare. As a first-time parent, I don’t profess to know much about parenting. But it seems to me to be a sensible thing to comfort the bawling mess, and try to ascertain what’s wrong. 22
“All you people outside this cot! Yes, you! Can’t you see I’m unhappy?”
When the diaper and cot have been checked, the child examined from head to toe, and she is being carried but still refuses to be comforted, that sends me into a state of some despair: Mama is here. I’m hugging all 12kg of you. I’m trying to wipe your tears, pat your back, console you, sing and talk to you. But you are bawling over my dulcet tones, and writhing in my cradling arms. You cannot hear any words of comfort or instruction. You cannot feel my embrace. Can you keep still, be quiet and listen to me?
But it becomes a problem when we don’t cease our outbursts to God to listen to what He has to say. Have you ever tried to communicate your views to someone but somehow both of you end up talking at the same time? Were you able to hear or listen to what your counterpart had to say? And even when finally you were alone in your own sanctuary, did you find yourself rehearsing your own points in your mind instead of considering his?
Prayer is a conversation with God. It is not about transmitting information to a passive recipient. It is not a monologue. It is not a soliloquy. It is a two-way dialogue. God speaks in a thunder (Job 37:2). He speaks in a still, small voice (1 Kings 19:12). He speaks when we least expect it (1 Samuel 3). He speaks through His Word (2 Timothy 3:16-17). He speaks through the people He sends our way (refer to the whole Bible). Think that last one happens only to blessed characters in the Bible? Do read the BLESS stories in this Saltshaker issue.
When We cry out to God askinG him to speak, he may already have started to do so, but ... We sometimes cannot hear.
Are we like an inconsolable two-year-old with God oftentimes? We let out a torrent of petitions or lamentations to Him. And there’s nothing wrong with that; some of the psalms of lament go on for many verses.
When we cry out to God asking Him to speak, He may already have started to do so, but like Vicky, we sometimes cannot hear. Because we ourselves are too loud and continuously so – whether verbally, in our minds or in our spirits. We might as well be talking to ourselves.
Our Father in heaven speaks. Are we still in our minds and spirits to be quiet and listen? *pianissimo, forte and fortissimo, respectively, are musical directions to play softly, loudly and very loudly.
The Third Decade 1977 - 1986 Taken from the archives for the 40th Anniversary
1978 - 1979
An addition was made to the back of the Sanctuary (from about where the sound console is now located to the back of the Sanctuary, and including the former upper gallery and upper room). This cost $175,000, inclusive of furniture and alteration to the basement.
The late Mr Andrew Lee was a pioneer of missions work to the Sengois. To perpetuate his memory, 2 funds were set up: one for training the Sengois ($5,000) and the other, the Trinity Theological Scholarship Fund ($2,000). TMC donated $10,000 to the Paya Lebar Methodist Girls’ School Building Fund in memory of the late Rev and the late Mrs Chew Hock Hin.
8 April 1978 Musical Night, produced by Mrs Lilian Choo and directed by Tonni Wei, was held at Victoria Theatre by the Belcànto Singers. TMC’s takings for the musical was $6,999.
Extension of Sanctuary (1977-8)
31 December 1979
The extension to the Sanctuary was dedicated by Bishop Kao Jih Chung.
A farewell-cum-welcome dinner was held for Rev and Mrs Daniel Tan, and Rev George Wan and family.
Church bible camp at Sentosa with Rev George Wan (1980)
6-10 December 1978 TMC participated in the Billy Graham Crusade by helping in counselling and ushering.
MYF Carollers (1981)
1980 - July 1981 Rev George Wan started the Contemporary Choir and Contemporary Service every 3rd Sunday of the month. Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF), Methodist Adult Fellowship (MAF) and Small Groups contributed towards meaningful fellowship and group interaction. Adult Bible Class was started on Sunday mornings, to enable parents to spend time profitably while waiting for their Sunday School children. The membership had grown to 425. A church extension named â€œTrinity Education Centreâ€? (TEC) was approved by the Local Church Executive Committee to meet increasing demands on space and facilities. This cost approximately $1 million. The TEC was completed in 1985. 1 August 1981 Daniel Koh Kah Soon, a Trinity College graduate waiting to be admitted on trial by Annual Conference, was appointed Pastor.
Construction of the TEC
11 September 1982
Church Theme: Church and Mission
TMC celebrated its 25th anniversary with a dinner program including musical items, a Sunday School sketch and slide presentation. Rev Dr Olin Stockwell was present to cut the anniversary cake.
Theme Song: The Chosen People Theme Verse: 1 Peter 2:9 A once-a-month “Singspiration” was introduced at our regular morning services to enrich our corporate worship experience. The Sunday School outreach project to the Kim Keat area led by Ms Joyce Chew, bore fruit with 13 children and 1 adult coming regularly to Sunday School, made possible by free transport provided by us. The Evangelism Committee shared the gospel every last Sunday of the month with 120 people in Upper Serangoon Shopping Centre. In addition, Chinese and English tracts were distributed.
MYF with guest speaker, Dianna Khoo (holding file) with Rev Lim Jen Huat (front row, second from left)
Church camp in Loyang (1983)
20 March 1983 In-house drive to fund the TEC Building Fund project was launched. The Membership Committee was formed. In the past, this function was under the umbrella of the Membership and Evangelism Committee. The primary responsibility of the committee was to care for the temporal and spiritual welfare of members through lay visitation of the sick and elderly and the starting of small group ministries.
16 April 1983 TMC’s Silver Jubilee souvenir magazine and programme
Our WSCS (Women’s Society of Christian Service) held a combined meeting with Paya Lebar WSCS at a bungalow in Ponggol - “Sharing and Family Fellowship”
1984 Church Theme: Christianity is the Way of Life Theme Song: Father, I Thank You Theme Verse: Phil 1:27a 21 February 1984 Malcolm Tan was recommended for the Minister-On-Trial Program during the first local conference subject to his passing from TTC (Trinity Theological College). Planning approval was given by the authorities for the construction of the TEC building. 28 APril 1984 First Gospel Rally was held with 140 people in attendance. The gospel was portrayed by a team of youth from YWAM, Belgium. APRIL 1984
Activities in the TEC
Choir presented “The Crucifixion”, a cantata by John Steiner on Good Friday. The Church Extension Committee was formed under the chairmanship of Mr Pang Kia Seng to oversee the planning and construction of the TEC. 24 June 1984 Second Gospel Rally was held with 200 people in attendance. Programme involved a sketch, song item, a screening of the film “Joni” and a message. NOVeMBER 1984 Work on TEC was scheduled to commence at a total cost of approximately $1.5 million and was scheduled to be completed in September 1985. 24 DECEMBER 1984 Carols by Candlelight Service was held and collections from the service were given to the Ethiopian victims. 27
1985 Methodist Church Centennial Year (1885-1985) Theme Verse: Zechariah 4 6 Theme Song: Sweet, Sweet Spirit 24 February 1985
Centennial Worship Service held.
The Senior Adult Fellowship was formed under its coordinator, Mr Wong Yow Chuen. Activities included the “Glee Club”, early morning walks and folk-dancing.
7 - 9 MARCH 1985 TMC participated in the Methodist Centennial Evangelistic Festival at Wesley Methodist Church.
The Filipino Fellowship was started to cater to the spiritual needs of domestic helpers.
APRIL 1985 MYF conducted an outreach programme in Hougang estate to spread the Gospel.
8 SEPTEMBER 1985 TMC’s 29th Anniversary with Bishop Ho Chee Sin giving the message.
31 May -5 June 1985 Centennial Youth Camp was held at NTI with 300 participants. 200 came forward and 90 dedicated themselves for full-time ministry. MAY 1985 The Young Adults Ministry was launched as a means of channelling young adults into small groups for bible study and prayer. 29th church anniversary dinner on 6 Sept 1985 in the Sanctuary (1985)
20 june 1985 A walkathon was jointly organised by Sunday School and MYF under the leadership of Eugene Lim, and a sum of $16,052.65 was raised for the TEC.
DECEMBER 1985 We joined TRAC in the presentation of the “Messiah” as part of the centennial celebrations.
Setting off for Walkathon on 20 June 1985
1986 Church Theme: Equipping for Growth Theme Song: For I’m Building a People of Power
in the third decade
1 JANUARY 1986 Rev Melvin Huang joined TMC as deacon and assistant pastor to Rev Daniel Koh. EARLY 1986
Rev Daniel Tan Pastor (Dec 1975 – End 1979)
The TEC building was completed. 18 mAY 1986 The 5 pm service was converted to a Prayer and Praise service, a charismatic form of worship with testimonies and guest speakers. 1-7 June 1986
Rev George Wan Pastor (End 1979 – July 1981)
Luis Palau Singapore Mission with TMC participating in prayer, counselling and follow-up. 31 JULY 1986 Rev Daniel Koh ended his term of office after 5 years at TMC for further studies at Dallas, USA with his wife, Dianna.
Rev Daniel Koh Pastor (Aug 1981 – July 1986)
1 August 1986 Rev Melvin Huang took over as pastor. 8-10 August 1986 MAF held a Council Members’ Retreat at Ladyhill Hotel to focus on the MAF ministry for the new church year.
Rev Melvin Huang Pastor (Aug 1986 – Dec 1994)
1 NOVEMBER 1986 Church Planning Retreat was held. DECEMBER 1986 Rev Melvin Huang was ordained as elder. The Resource Centre was completed in the church basement with book-lending transactions reaching 1,000. Sermon and musical titles were added.
One Part of the TMC Jigsaw As part of our Diamond Anniversary celebrations, the Saltshaker is inviting worshippers who turn 60 this year to share their faith journey with all readers.
Ong Eng Hong
I have four brothers and three sisters. My parents practised Taoism and I was exposed to this form of worship and its associated rituals since young. I followed what my parents did without any reservations and questioning. I was first introduced to Christianity in Serangoon Garden Technical School, where I joined a Christian group that met after school. The bible teachings and singing struck a chord in me but I did not pursue my belief further. I joined the Air Force in Sep 1973 after completing Secondary 4. During those initial years in the Air Force, I was a free thinker without any affiliation to any religion. That was until I was posted to another department in 1982 where I met my wife, Siew Hwee. Siew Hweeâ€™s family was then worshipping at Paya Lebar Chinese Methodist Church (PLCMC). She rekindled my latent spark of belief by encouraging me to attend rallies and worship services with her. One of my close friends, Choo Kum Seng, who was attending Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) at that time invited me to worship there with him. It was at TMC where I was baptised by Rev Daniel Koh on 25 Dec 1983.
God is faithful and merciful. After becoming a believer, I encouraged and brought my late mother to attend many Hokkien rallies together with my wife. Through one of the rallies, my mother accepted Christ as her Lord and Saviour. We attended PLCMC with her and she was later baptised. My father also accepted Christ, was baptised and is now worshipping at PLCMC. Of my seven siblings, only one has accepted Christ. My prayer is for all of them to believe in our Lord. I claim the promise in Acts 16:11 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household”. Due to the nature of my job with the Air Force, I was posted to the United States to serve four tours of duty. This meant I had to shuttle between Singapore and the United States from 1987 to 2008. During that period, TMC grew in terms of the number of worshippers, and underwent infrastructure changes and upgrades. In between my four tours of duty and thereafter, I served in the ushering ministry and continue to do so till today. My family worships at the 8.45am service. My wife and daughter, Xin Rui, serve in one of the counting teams (the people who count the tithes and offerings on Sundays) and also as ushers on occasion. This year is particularly special to me. I shall be retiring from the Air Force at age 60 - exactly the same age as TMC. I am constantly reminded of God’s faithfulness and abundant grace in granting me many opportunities to respond to the Gospel, from the time I was in secondary school to the time I finally accepted our Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour in December 1983. As I reflect on my Christian journey, I realise that being an obedient disciple is a constant endeavour and work in progress until the Lord returns. Each worshipper at TMC is like a piece in a jigsaw puzzle. Each piece is important to the puzzle, without which the jigsaw will not be complete and perfect. As part of the body of Christ, one worshipper is as important as another. Our role is to play our part according to our gifts and calling so that the body of Christ is fully functional and a shining testimony to others. TMC is my family’s home church. Our wish for TMC’s Diamond Jubilee is for her to be a beacon in our community, reaching out to our neighbours. May our church demonstrate God’s love and draw the
A special birthday wish to Eng Hong from his family Happy Birthday to you, 老爸! We are both so thankful to God to have you as a caring husband and father. You have always been our family’s strong pillar of support. Our prayer is for you to continue to be steadfast in the Lord, and to be blessed with good health. May God continue to bless you and use you in all His ways. Love you always! 小慧 & Ah Rui
TMC – My first church Lessons learnt as a young Christian and pastor TMC was my very first church. I became a Christian at the age of 19 in London. While I was there, I met Ivan Tan – a diehard TMC boy whose initials are also “T-M-C” (Ivan Tan Meng Cheng is his full name). Ivan invited me to his church when I returned to Singapore for the summer holidays. The warm fellowship, and a vibrant group of young adults, made sure that TMC would also become my home. I settled in pretty quickly upon my return in 1991, and served in various ministries over the years – choir (yes, me!), Sunday School, Youth Ministry and the Local Church Executive Committee (LCEC).
Lai Kai Ming
Pastor-in-Charge, Pentecost Methodist Church
The “call” had come when I was attending All Souls Church in London, but it was increasingly confirmed as I got involved in the life of the church. When my contract as an army officer ended in 2000, I joined Trinity Theological College in preparation to be a pastor. I will always remember how TMC generously supported my family during the period of my studies. One memorable experience as a pastor in TMC was leading a visitation team each month to serve holy communion to homebound worshippers. As an introvert, I often found it a challenge to strike a meaningful conversation with the elderly. But the team members stepped in and brought so much cheer to the shut-ins. The climax of each visit was to have lunch together and share our lives. Eventually, the team multiplied into three visitation teams.
I remember my very first LCEC retreat. I was appointed to facilitate the Women’s Society of Christian Service (WSCS) group to discuss church plans. The ladies made me feel very welcome, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. More importantly, I got to know TMC’s many women disciples and saw how much these ladies loved the church. The more I served, the more the Lord stirred in me a desire to become a pastor. Kai Ming (third from left) serving with the visitation team
As part of our Diamond Anniversary celebrations, the Saltshaker has invited former church members who are now in pastoral or full-time Christian ministry to share with our readers the impact that Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) has made on their lives.
On one occasion, a team decided to visit an elderly couple who had been absent from church for many years – Mr Tong Kum Toh and Mrs Ruth Tong, two of the Old Guards of TMC. It was a “surprise” visit, and we were in turn surprised by their hospitality. They bought us a meal at the Jumbo Restaurant nearby. A week later, the couple returned to attend church services until the day that they were called home to be with God years later. TMC was where I grew as a young Christian as well as a young pastor. These are some lessons I learnt along the way:
On a mission trip to Cambodia (1995)
- Invest in our children and youth, even when all our efforts do not seem to yield results immediately. I am always heartened when I meet my Sunday School charges who have grown up to be men and women serving the Lord.
- God is in charge and He uses imperfect people to do His work. I just have to look in the mirror to see the proof of that statement.
“No, Jacob, you eat your cricket first!”
- The most important thing in church ministry is not attendance and short-term success in programmes. It is relationships. Not a superficial relationship, but one that is honest, accountable and centred on God’s Word. In other words, discipleship.
My birthday wish for TMC is that we will understand the call of this church in Serangoon Gardens, and fulfill it whatever the cost. The Lai Family: (Back L-R) Lois, Kai Ming, Lesley, Yasha and Kyrie (front)
My Mentors Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) has been my home church almost all my life. I first came to TMC as a three-year-old toddler, when my parents first started attending the church. Apart from home, TMC was a place where I felt accepted and loved in my growing up years. It enabled me to experience the love of God in practical and tangible ways through the people in church. My parents were and continue to be an example of self-sacrifice and servanthood at home. They shaped my understanding of what serving others entails. My dad would always give us the choicest parts of the chicken when we had dinner at home and he would eat the leftovers we didnâ€™t like. My mother is a woman of prayer, faithfully praying for each of us every night.
Graduate, Trinity Theological College
Through them, I experienced the love of Christ, which helped me to grow as a child of God. So the TMC family has contributed significantly in helping me to grow as a person. Now I can say that I place my confidence and self-worth fully in our Lord Jesus Christ and I am grateful for the community that has helped shape my life. My childrenâ€™s ministry and later youth ministry group leader, Png Kong Jin, was my childhood mentor. He exemplified care and love in a very personal way. He taught me to play the guitar, sat with me in the sanctuary during services, and he cheered and supported me at my tennis tournaments in school. He inspired me to live a life of loving and serving others. Another mentor, Ivan Tan, was a godly mentor to me through my army and university years, and an example of a disciple who makes disciples. He always challenged and still challenges me to think outside the box.
As a youth, I was shy and reserved, happy to sit in a corner just observing and listening to others. I lacked self-confidence and was often unsure of myself. But God never disregarded me. He helped me to grow spiritually and emotionally by bringing people who truly cared about me into my life. 34
Timothy (back row, extreme left) enjoying Sunday School (1994 circa)
At TMC, I learnt that authentic brokenness in a person is better than unique giftedness. We are often envious of the gifts of others in church. We tend to think we need to know the Bible inside out, that we need every part of our lives sorted out beforehand or else we will not serve our church well. But I have learned that a person who will own his brokenness, weakness, and need for Jesus in an honest and authentic way can be used by God to reach others. Modelling how to walk humbly with Jesus is worth more than the most exceptional ministry gifts.
My prayer is that TMC will continue to grow as a family, one that that reaches out to the community around us. If our church were to disappear tomorrow, would anybody in our community notice (apart from the car parking problems we give to our neighbours)? We have always been known to be a church with many families related to one another, one that perhaps reflects a village-like community. This is one of our strengths as a church but it may also be our weakness if we become insular. Let us seek to be a blessing to the people in our community.
The phrase “make disciples” implies intention and process. Disciple-making doesn’t just happen because our church exists and people show up. It is a deliberate process. The verbs “going”, “baptising” and “teaching” in Matt 28:19-20 helps us recognise this process. But disciple-making must also include evangelising (going to meet new people and new places), establishing (baptising new believers and teaching God’s Word), and equipping (teaching believers also to make disciples). As we continue to focus and work on how our church evangelises, establishes, and equips, I believe that TMC will be a place “Where Disciples Make Disciples”.
On the occasion of Timothy’s graduation from TTC on 14 May 16. (L-R) Timothy and his wife Valerie, with Timothy’s parents, Patricia and Dennis Yong. Patricia is carrying Timothy’s son, Zion.
Youth Ministry Mission Trip (2005)
Harry and Gloria Lim
As TMC celebrates 60 years of God’s faithfulness, we remember the people who answered the call from God to establish a Methodist church in Serangoon Gardens. They will remind us what life was like in the early days, and how their service in church shaped their spiritual journey.
If there is a couple that will never forget the age of TMC, it is Uncle Harry and Auntie Gloria (numbers 124 and 175 on the Membership Roll respectively). The couple were married in the very year that TMC was founded. “Tomorrow is our anniversary,” Auntie Gloria tells me, halfway through our conversation. “This year, TMC is 60. And we have been married for 60 years.” This is no insignificant detail: the TMC family has been privileged to have the couple as part of our church life since the early years. Uncle Harry and Auntie Gloria, too, have seen their family grow along with the church over the decades.
Harry and Gloria Lim at GYM’s Lunar New Year gathering (2015)
“What God is doing in us”
The Early Years The Lims joined TMC in 1960, when their elder son Peter was only two years old. Uncle Harry was not yet a believer then, but Auntie Gloria – who had come to Christ a few years before – had wanted to bring Peter up in the church. It was not too long before Uncle Harry, too, became a Christian and was baptised in 1966. Peter, who with his wife Jane, is also a member of TMC, recalls the early years with some fondness: “I remember the first fun fair that the church had. Our family lived near the church. We put up an advertisement in our home and sold tickets. That was always a good memory.” 36
Over the years, the Lims have been active in the church community in varied ways. Many will remember the couple serving in the choir together. The couple was also active in the small group ministry, leading a small group. Later, Auntie Gloria would serve in the hospice ministry, dedicating a decade to serving God in Dover Park Hospice, and Uncle Harry would serve as a lector at the 8.45am English service. “When I retired, I wanted to do something great,” Aunty Gloria recounts. “But God’s strong message came to me: ‘You have already worked so hard all these years. Now, work for God.’ And so I went to be trained as a hospice caregiver.”
Peter remembers: “Mum gave it her all in service and was involved in the lives of so many people in church. But our parents never forced us – they wanted things to be spontaneous and would encourage us, in a supportive but passive way, to follow Christ. For instance, when we formed a small group, they offered to participate by preparing food and drinks. They never said, ‘You have to do this’, but would always say, ‘If you want to do this, here’s some encouragement’.”
On behalf of the younger generation of the family, Peter says, “I would like to wish Mum and Dad, and TMC, a happy anniversary. It is a glorious and significant milestone but there’s a lot more to learn, experience, and look forward to in this life that our Lord has provided. We can be encouraged to press on in being a testimony for Christ together, and living our lives for Him.”
On service, Auntie Gloria reflects: “I have learnt that it is not what we do that’s important, but what God is doing in us. That is what causes things to happen.” Looking back on 60 years Over the years, “I have witnessed them grow spiritually together,” says Peter. “And the church has been there to support them.”
Aunty Gloria (front row, third from right) (1971)
“To them, it didn’t matter which pastor was leading the church – the church was always family. And they were committed to being faithful members. From them I have learnt to be consistent in the church, to be faithful, to continue in service and to be the light that God wants us to be.” The Lims agree that “the past 60 years have been great. We have received love and fellowship and the community has been friendly and loving – sharing one another’s grief, sicknesses, comforting one another. We have had many pastors who have shown great love to our community.”
Uncle Harry crooning at the Seniors’ Christmas party (2005)
“It is through love that the church can grow. And TMC is still growing. The Youth Ministry – which is so important – has grown, and it continues to help grow the church. To keep our church growing, we as disciples need to make the effort to come together and tell people how good God is in our lives.”
The Lim family on the occasion of Harry and Gloria’s 60th wedding anniversary
Age Is Just A Number
The indefatigable Mrs Eunice Tan (number 69 on the Membership Roll) moved to Serangoon Gardens in the mid-1950s. At that time she was still attending Kampong Kapor Methodist Church (KKMC). She was soon introduced to the new Sunday gatherings at both Cowdray Avenue and Bridport Avenue. Her sister, Daisy, was a neighbour of the affable Lai Men Soe. Mr Lai welcomed people into his home for worship and Bible studies and Eunice was soon a regular attendee. Eunice recalls the great camaraderie and community spirit in trying to establish a church. When Trinity Methodist Church (TMC) started formal services at St Peterâ€™s Church nearby, she enthusiastically brought her family of four young children along for the Sunday services. However, they still spent more Sundays at KKMC. About the time when TMC moved to its current location in Serangoon Garden Way, Eunice and her husband, Tan Khey Tong, started to attend TMCâ€™s Sunday services more regularly with their children. As the congregation matured, a once-a-month charismatic service was established that was a predecessor of the current weekly contemporary service at 11.15am. Held on the last Sunday of each month, this service did away with the more classical touches, like traditional hymns and the organ. Instead electric guitars, drums and a synthesiser became the instruments of choice to appeal to a younger congregation.
Khey Tong and Eunice’s daughter, Emilyn, together with Ashley Choo, were among those who started, and served the Lord in this young music band. Emilyn and Ashley fell in love and are now happily married. Now 88 years old and a grandmother of eight, Mrs Tan has been teacher and school principal all her working life. Incredibly, she started working during the Japanese occupation in World War II when she was just 14 years old. That early start in the workforce instilled the love of education in her and she spent her whole life honing the skill. After teaching for some 16 years, she was appointed principal of Belvedere School. But it was in Serangoon Garden South School that she spent the most time. She was principal there from 1960 to 1983 when she retired at 55 years old. Notwithstanding her age, Eunice championed music lessons at the TMC Kindergarten a few years ago. She volunteered her time and service in teaching the young charges how to play the angklung and the handbells. With her love of music, she taught the young children many Christian songs including Amazing Grace and Jesus Loves Me, as well as local folk songs like Burong Kakak Tua. When the children were well-practised and ready, they put up a performance during church service one Sunday in 2012. Mrs Tan played the piano accompanying them. It was also during this concert that an examiner was present to witness the children’s performance and grade them musically. The result was nothing short of marvellous and they all scored a distinction for their effort. Now who says one can’t serve God just because one is in one’s golden years?
TMCK children with their angklungs accompanied by Eunice (behind the keyboard)
EVENTS Sat 4 Jun 9.00am Alpha Training & Apologetics
Wed 6 Jul Family Day – a TMC60 Event www.tmc.org.sg/tmc60.html
Sun 5 Jun Youth Ministry Outing www.facebook.com/TMCYouthMin
Wed 15 Jun 1.00pm Youth Avenue Outing www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#ya
Sun 19 Jun 10.30am Alpha Consecration www.tmc.org.sg/alpha.html
Wed 22 Jun 11.00am Youth Avenue Cooking Class www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#ya
Sat 25 Jun 11.00am Youth Avenue Parents-Teachers Meeting www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#ya
Sun 26 Jun 1.00pm Alpha Introductory Lunch www.tmc.org.sg/alpha.html
Sun 3 Jul Pledge Sunday Sun 3, 10, 17, 24, 31 Jul, 7, 21, 28 Aug 1.00pm Alpha Lunch Talks
Sun 10 Jul Youth Baptism Sat 23 Jul Youth Avenue Pizza Party www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#ya
Every Sun 9.30am Mandarin Service Prayer Meeting Every 2nd Sun After the 11.15am service: Young Adults’ Lunch Fellowship Every 2nd and 4th Sun 7.45am Church Prayer Meeting www.tmc.org.sg/prayer.html
Every 3rd Sun 10.00am WSCS Visitation to Homebound. Those interested to bring the church into the homes of the homebound, please contact Lucy Chan at 9748 2733.
Every 1st Wed 10.00am-12.00pm Yum Cha@10 is an opportunity for people to come together for fellowship, and serves as a platform for TMCers to meet one another as well as non- Christians in the community mid-week. Contact the church office / churchoffice@tmc. org.sg www.tmc.org.sg/ministries.html#gym
Last Thurs of the month 10.00am-12.00pm St Luke’s Eldercare Centre Devotions at Blk 217 Serangoon Ave 4. TMC’s ministry to SLEC brings hope, help and the love of Christ to many needy elderly. If you wish to join in, contact Eddie from the church office / eddie@ tmc.org.sg. www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#slec
Every Fri 8.00 – 10.00pm Healing Ministry at the Prayer Chapel Every Sat 9.00 – 11.30am Fellowship of Ukulelians
Last Sun of the month www.tmc.org.sg/regular.html#ukulele 9.00am Visit to Institute of Mental Health by Outreach & Social Concerns. Contact Yvonne Tan at 9091 8589 / firstname.lastname@example.org www.tmc.org.sg/osc.html#imh
CR EDITS PASTORS Rev Alvin Chan . Rev Paul Nga EDITORIAL COMMITTEE Amanda Yong . Cheryl Sim . Lim Sue Yien . Rose Tan . Samuel Wong . Shuwen Koh . Tricia Tong . Vinitha Jayaram DESIGNERS Ellen Li . Guo Xiao Rong . Ng Xin Nie . Noelle Yong . Olivia Ng TRANSLATOR Lee Cai Yun PHOTOGRAPHERS Andrew Chong . GK Tay . Jason Tang . Raymond Seah . Victor Seah PRINTER Lithographic Print House Pte Ltd Views expressed in the Saltshaker belong to the contributors and do not necessarily reflect that of the church or the Methodist Church of Singapore. Materials may only be reproduced with permission from the editorial team.